Oasis Therapy and Wellness
What is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)?

What is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)?

Sexual desire and sexual arousal are integral components of sexual health and well-being. However, some individuals may experience a persistent lack of sexual desire, which can impact their sexual and intimate relationships, self-esteem, and quality of life. This condition is known as Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD).

HSDD is characterized by a significant decrease in sexual desire, which is not caused by medical conditions, relationship problems, substance abuse, or medication. It is estimated that about 10% of women and 5% of men in the United States experience HSDD.

What are the Symptoms of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)?

The primary symptom of HSDD is a persistent lack of sexual desire. This may result in an absence of sexual thoughts, fantasies, or desire for sexual activity. Additionally, individuals with HSDD may experience:

  • Reduced interest in sexual activity
  • Few or no sexual fantasies or thoughts
  • Aversion to sexual activity
  • A decline in sexual arousal or pleasure
  • Difficulty in achieving or maintaining sexual arousal

What Causes Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)?

The exact cause of HSDD is not well understood, but it is believed to be the result of a complex interplay of psychological, emotional, and physical factors. Some of the possible causes of HSDD include:

  • Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal changes, such as decreased levels of testosterone, can result in reduced sexual desire.
  • Psychological factors: Depression, anxiety, stress, relationship problems, and low self-esteem can all contribute to HSDD.
  • Medical conditions: Chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, or neurological conditions, can result in decreased sexual desire.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, or hormonal contraceptives, can have sexual side effects and contribute to HSDD.

What are the Treatment Options for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)?

Treatment for HSDD varies depending on the underlying cause of the disorder. Some of the most effective treatment options for HSDD include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This type of therapy helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that may be impacting their sexual desire.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as testosterone replacement therapy, have been shown to be effective in treating HSDD.
  • Lifestyle changes: Making changes to lifestyle habits, such as reducing stress, improving sleep, and engaging in regular physical activity, can help improve sexual desire.
  • Sexual therapy: This type of therapist is called a sexologist and focuses on improving communication, intimacy, and sexual functioning within a relationship.

It is important to note that treatment for HSDD should be individualized and tailored to each person’s specific needs and circumstances. It is also important to work with a CSAT-certified therapist who is knowledgeable and experienced in treating sexual disorders.

How is Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of HSDD involves a comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare provider, which may include a physical examination, laboratory tests, and psychological assessment. The healthcare provider will also ask questions about the individual’s sexual history, including sexual desire, arousal, and functioning.

What is the Prognosis for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD)?

The outlook for someone with HSDD depends on what caused the disorder and how bad it is. With proper treatment, most individuals with HSDD can experience significant improvements in their sexual desire and intimate relationships.

The Impact of HSDD on Relationships and Self-Esteem

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder can have a significant impact on relationships and self-esteem. In relationships, a lack of sexual desire can cause tension and frustration, as well as a sense of insecurity in one’s partner. If a partner is experiencing HSDD, they may avoid intimate situations and withdraw from physical touch, leading to feelings of rejection and abandonment in their partner.

On a personal level, HSDD can lead to feelings of shame and low self-esteem. A person with HSDD may feel that they are not fulfilling their partner’s needs and may question their own desirability and sexual attractiveness. These negative feelings can further contribute to a decreased sexual desire and a vicious cycle of anxiety and self-doubt.

Diagnosing Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

Diagnosing HSDD can be a complex process and typically involves a comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare provider. This evaluation may include a medical history, physical examination, and a review of symptoms and relationship dynamics.

In some cases, a provider may also perform blood tests to rule out underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to the HSDD symptoms. Additionally, a provider may use questionnaires or other diagnostic tools to help determine the presence of HSDD and evaluate its severity.

Treatment Options for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

The treatment of HSDD depends on the underlying cause and may involve a combination of behavioral and medical interventions. Some common treatments for HSDD include:

  • Psychotherapy: Talking with a trained therapist can help a person with HSDD identify and address any psychological factors that may be contributing to their decreased sexual desire.
  • Hormonal therapy: Hormonal imbalances can play a role in HSDD, and hormone replacement therapy may be recommended to restore balance and improve sexual desire.
  • Medications: There are several medications that can help increase sexual desire, including flibanserin (Addyi), testosterone therapy, and bupropion (Wellbutrin).
  • Lifestyle changes: Making healthy lifestyle changes, such as improving diet, exercise habits, and sleep patterns, can have a positive impact on sexual desire and overall health.
  • Couples therapy: Couples therapy can help address relationship issues and improve communication, which may be contributing to HSDD.

It is important to note that the effectiveness of these treatments will vary from person to person, and a healthcare provider can help determine the best approach for each individual case.


In conclusion, Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder is a complex condition that can have a significant impact on one’s relationships and self-esteem. Even though the exact cause of HSDD is not well known, a mix of behavioral and medical treatments may help improve symptoms. If you are experiencing decreased sexual desire or other symptoms of HSDD, it is important to seek the advice of a healthcare provider. With the right treatment, it is possible to bring back sexual desire and improve overall sexual satisfaction.


  1. What is HSDD and what are its symptoms?

    Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) is a sexual dysfunction characterized by low sexual desire or absence of sexual fantasies. The common symptoms of HSDD include lack of interest in sexual activities, reduced sexual thoughts fewer sexual feelings or sensations during sexual activity.
  1. What causes HSDD?

    The exact causes of HSDD are not known, but various factors can contribute to the condition, such as hormonal imbalances, physical or emotional stress, relationship issues, medication side effects, and certain medical conditions.
  2. Is HSDD a mental illness?

    HSDD is not considered a mental illness, but it can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health and well-being.
  3. Can HSDD be treated?

    Yes, HSDD can be treated with various methods such as counseling, lifestyle changes, hormonal therapy, and medications. The most effective treatment plan will depend on the individual and the underlying cause of their HSDD.
  4. Is HSDD the same as low libido?

    Yes, HSDD and low libido are the same thing and are used interchangeably. Both terms refer to a lack of sexual desire.